Do you have different groups for different games?

edited February 2012 in Story Games
Do you play all the RPGs you play with the same group of people or do you play different ones with different groups?

Do you feel the games are tailored to the groups? Or are the differences between the groups just down to logistics?

Do you have certain people in your group that you know have certain preferences?

Comments

  • edited February 2012
    I have, currently in PDX there is a fair-sized gatherings of nerd who are down to play anything. So we sort of meet up, and sometimes split off for separate games. But in the past, I had my "weird traditional gamers" then my "pick up, one-shot group" (also the D&D encounters group).

    Yes, in the way that some games tend towards different experiences. Certain groups just jive better with certain games than others.

    Umm...I don't know, everyone seems open to give any game an honest chance (in PDX). But in the past, I'd avoid more serious subject with those "weird traditional gamers", I've had interesting experiences with that group.
  • I have a largeish circle I'm part of and we create groups per game. Whenever someone feels like playing a game, they say, "hey, I want to play The Mountain Witch [eg], who's in?" and we self-select. Sometimes they invite particular people specifically, sometimes put out a general call, usually a combination. "Hey Eppy, if I run Lamentations of the Flame Princess, will you play? Awesome! I need three more players, everybody. Who's up for it?"
  • I play regularly with two different groups. It's not a matter of I only play games of type A,B & C with group 1, and C, D & E with group2, but rather both groups have their own preferences. When it's my turn to run, I tend to aim my pitch towards games I think that group will like, but will sometimes pitch any game to any group.
  • Yes. Sort of. Yes.

    Tried running Monsterhearts with some people from my old D&D/Pathfinder group - all I can say is they're having a good time despite themselves, whereas my Skype group took to Monsterhearts immediately and without reservation. So I'm going to stop pushing it on my trad group and try some Mouse Guard with them. I've self-selected myself into an AW campaign. I also play Story Games Seattle pickup games - there we're logistically bound (one-shot, no-prep) but we also self-select ("I'm up for facilitating X, who's in?")
  • I live in the hinterlands, and the local scene is somewhat smallish. On the other hand, what gamers we have tend to be well-versed in different games, and generally have a wide range in what they can get into, so usually we don't have any trouble forming a group. Over the recent years we've tended to play whatever I've had brewing, with players self-selecting in or out depending on whether they like that sort of thing. This is mostly because I'm one of like three adult gamers around here; the rest are highschoolers or young college students who naturally follow along. The teenagers play stuff like Warhammer, MtG, larps and some occasional tabletop roleplaying games when I'm not there leading the pack. There are a couple of people I get along with especially well and will generally ask to participate when I'm planning something new, but maybe two thirds of any given grouping will usually be formed of new or non-regular people. The typical game will last about half a dozen sessions, except for this D&D thing we've been doing that'll apparently hit session 60 tomorrow.

    Many of the local gamers have been trained by myself over the years, so I'm not surprised that their likings reflect my own to a degree; it's pretty common around here for people to appreciate many kinds of games as long as they're clearly explained and purposeful. On the other hand, these same folks tend to get impatient with vague games that involve a lot of exploration and reflecting upon what we're actually doing here right now. Call of Cthulhu, for example, has a history of being a difficult game for this scene: the average GM who reads it and wants to run it usually hasn't really done more than setting up a plot of some sort, so it's tended to be a slow, mediocre experience with players uncertain about what they're supposed to be doing in the game.

    Now that we've been playing D&D I've had multiple people playing with us for whom D&D is their best rpg experience ever; they clearly prefer the adventurous, challenge-focused, plotless, drama-less game over the range of more usual fare they've been familiar with from before. These also include several players who I think wouldn't be happy, or make others happy, in a drama-oriented game: D&D has a much lower threshold of participation than many other games, so it suits guys who'd find it difficult to appreciate and participate in a game that relies more on literary stylings and a sense of narration. I've also had some people (well, one) opt out specifically because they don't like this sort of thing at all, and would rather play something more narrative and less character-death-y.
  • Different groups, different games.

    I have a "trad" group that plays D&D (4e, Pathfinder, etc) and will occasionally let me experiment on them with "weird" games like Burning Wheel or Warhammer FRP 3rd ed or Marvel or whatever but those guys mostly don't care. I'm the GM, they show up, we play games.

    I game with another group. Mostly we play Apocalypse World but sometimes other stuff but never anything particularly traditional. They're the "story games" group.

    Definite division.
  • edited February 2012
    @Eero

    No offense (and I know you are just describing your-game-as-experienced-locally) but could you leave out descriptions of games that might be misinterpreted by casual readers as broad, sweeping generalizations? That might help avoid turning this thread into one of those threads.
  • I now have two main gaming groups. One was my original gaming group (though a few people left and a few new people came in over the years), which has become mostly about D&D4e because it so perfectly fits what a lot of them always wanted out of an RPG. The other is a newer gaming group that switches around a lot between different games, mostly indie stuff. The tastes, personalities, and schedules at work make that about the right arrangement for everyone concerned. About half of the D&D group is totally uninterested in the random indie games I want to play, and for the indie group 4e got a mixed reception and the logistics of playing a long D&D campaign are too onerous, especially when our sessions top out at 3-4 hours.
  • edited February 2012
    I have a regular Pathfinder group, and then I play other games (usually one-shots) with other groups assembled a little differently each time, often but not always including some members of the Pathfinder game. I don't usually tailor the groups too carefully - I invite the members of my regular game first, then if I need more people I'll see who else might be interested.
  • edited February 2012
    @Neko Ewen


    Could you clarify this?
    "our sessions top out at 3-4 hours."

    The indie sessions take3-4 hours? The D&D4 ones do? Both?
  • My personal situation is very much like Vincent's, above. There's too many cool games and too many cool people to play with, so I basically tend to recruit a new assortment of players for whatever game I'm interested in running and join other groups when people invite me and I have time in my schedule. That said, my personal practices are not shared by everyone in the wider community I'm connected to. Some people have long-established groups of players that they continually play an assortment of games with. Some people rarely have regular games going but play occasionally or join an arc or a short campaign here and there. Some people do a combination of different things, playing multiple nights a week. There are a bunch of individual and group practices that overlap in a complex web.
  • I don't have a set "gaming group." I have 5-8 friends who are interested in story games.

    When a couple people want to play Monsterhearts, we make some phone calls and arrange a time for 4 of us to sit down and play Monsterhearts. When a couple people want to play Silver & White, we arrange a time for 4 of us to sit down and play Silver & White.
  • @Mcdaldno

    What's the difference?
  • Posted By: Zak SWhat's the difference?
    What's the difference between what?

    Every single time I want to play a session of a roleplaying game, I hand-pick who to play with based on schedule logistics and who'd be interested/suited to the game that's desired.
  • edited February 2012
    @mcdaldno

    Can you talk (in general terms) about who is/isn't suited to what games or kinds of games and why?

    Like I have some people who are too ADD for Cthulhu the way I run it. They know that, I know that. I have one player who is too patient to play D&D the way we do and only plays Cthulhu with us, f'rinstance.
  • edited February 2012
    In New York, a buddy of mine found it useful to distinguish between the "fiction-first" games we'd play together and the "rules-first" games he'd play with other friends. The distinction was partly about system used, but moreso about how we used it. If he sent out a mass email saying, "Who wants to join me for some fiction-first Burning Wheel?", the people whose first love with that game is to manipulate its system would know to opt out.

    "Indulge your creative side, make up lots of stuff" versus "control your character and nothing else" was another distinction that I felt attracted different folks, and also led me to invite different folks to different games.
  • @David Berg

    What's a typical example of "manipulating the system" (as play goal) the way you're defining it?
  • Posted By: Zak S

    Can you talk (in general terms) about who is/isn't suited to what games or kinds of games and why?

    Like I have some people who are too ADD for Cthulhu the way I run it. They know that, I know that. I have one player who is too patient to play D&D the way we do andonlyplays Cthulhu with us, f'rinstance.
    Sure. It's kind of like the example you're giving there.
    I find that there are two metrics that often crop up in determining who to invite to a game.

    The first is subject seriousness.
    Some people feel like Perfect Unrevised or Penny For My Thoughts are too serious and somber. They ask, "Why would something so sad and grim be fun for me?"
    Other people feel like Danger Patrol is too goofy and shallow. They ask, "How is this a meaningful story?"

    So, I don't invite silly people to serious games, or serious people to silly games. I mean, I do once or twice, to give them an opportunity to explore a new opportunity. But once it's clear a game tone isn't right for them, I stop trying to make that match.

    The other one is rules complexity.
    I have some friends who love telling stories, but complicated dice and tactics are too much for them. For some friends, the complexity limit is about that of Microscope. For others, the limit is around In a Wicked Age. For others, it's around Monsterhearts.

    I don't invite people to games that will overload them, wrt complexity. I don't happen to have any friends who have a minimum required complexity, but I have in the past.
  • Posted By: McdaldnoEvery single time I want to play a session of a roleplaying game, I hand-pick who to play with based on schedule logistics and who'd be interested/suited to the game that's desired.
    This shit would drive me FUCKING CRAZY. Trying to ad hoc a group every time I wanted to play? *terror*
  • Posted By: Zak SCould you clarify this?
    "our sessions top out at 3-4 hours."

    The indie sessions take 3-4 hours? The D&D4 ones do? Both?
    The indie ones, on account of us playing Friday evenings after work. Doing D&D4e properly requires setting aside 6 hours or so.

    Vanilla (the web forum software SG uses) has a pretty easy quote function by the way; just click "quote" above a post or use the blockquote html tag.
  • @Neko

    Believe or not, my current browser has a problem with that. It also does hilarious things you wouldn't believe with blogger.

    If you look at my earlier posts (on a different machine) they are rich with little blockquotes. Not so anymore.

    Luckily, none of that is terribly important.

    Anyway:

    What do you think it is about how y'all run D&D 4 that makes it more fun/satisfactory to take 6 hours a session with it?

    Many people, after all, manage to do it in like 3.
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: Neko Ewen
    Vanilla (the web forum software SG uses) has a pretty easy quote function by the way; just click "quote" above a post or use the blockquote html tag.
    See?
  • Not that this would seem to make any difference, but there's an extra blockquote tag in there.
  • edited February 2012
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Sam!</cite>Not that this would seem to make any difference, but there's an extra blockquote tag in there.</blockquote>

    Yeah, doesn't matter.

    Check it out.
  • Posted By: lumpleyI have a largeish circle I'm part of and we create groups per game. Whenever someone feels like playing a game, they say, "hey, I want to play The Mountain Witch [eg], who's in?" and we self-select. Sometimes they invite particular people specifically, sometimes put out a general call, usually a combination. "Hey Eppy, if I run Lamentations of the Flame Princess, will you play? Awesome! I need three more players, everybody. Who's up for it?"
    This is pretty similiar to my experience. When I want to play something, I put the call out (email) to a big group of people I think might be interested. Sometimes I get those kinds of emails from others. A small number gather weekly at a game store to play single-session stuff, and sometimes discussions there lead into people forming groups to play a particular game for a longer period of time.

    So no, I don't have a "set" gaming group and don't think in those terms, usually.
  • Posted By: J. WaltonThere's too many cool games and too many cool people to play with...
    I hate you!

    All of the groups I've been in have focused on specific games. My old Monday group was all D&D 3.5; my old Saturday group was 90% D&D 3.5 with occasional forays into other d20 games; my old Friday group was all HERO, all the time; and my abortive Sunday group was focused on Burning Wheel.

    Getting any of these groups to deviate from the main RPG didn't work for anything other than one-shots. If anything, being adamant about trying something new caused my Saturday group to disintegrate.

    So, the groups were essentially tailored to the game; "This is a HERO group; would you want to join and play HERO with us?"
  • edited February 2012
    Different games with different groups. Basically I pick people who I think will be interested in the game, I invite them to be in the group to play the game. I am very very rarely wrong. Sometimes logistics don't work out, but if they come, they love it.
  • edited February 2012
    I've got three groups that I meet with regularly. One is dedicated to a single GM running Savage Fringeworthy and is traditional in that sense. The next one does Zorceror of Zo and Spirit of the Century with the occasional one shot. From time to time will do banter for two three hours straight. The third group is fond of Wushu and QAGS with the occasional one shot as well. We also do actual play podcasts with the last two groups.
    --
    TAZ

    These are all done via Skype, also in a Skype based writer's guild.
  • 1) A little of both. I move in and out of three different gaming groups. The first one is up for anything. We play across a whole spectrum of game. Now that I think about it same for the second one as well. Third one I'll answer at two.

    2) Basically I pitch games. Those who are interested show up and play. The third group is our current Wednesday lunch group. We meet once a week for 1 hour. So our game need to fit into a one hour time slot.

    3) Yes, I ask them what their preferences are.
  • edited February 2012
    Both.

    We tailor games to the group, when we play with our friends from high school (including our high school art teacher that introduced me to RPGs).

    Sometimes there are 4 of us, sometimes 12+. The point isn't to game but to hangout. Often this is grounded in nostalgia. We don't love playing using the rules of Marvel FASERIP or Shadowrun but we love those games (it's less rational, more emotional). So we will hack those games, keeping the nostalgia, but blending in techniques from new games (not just from other RPGs but also video games and boardgames).

    We used to all watch movies together but now it's nearly impossible to get 12+ people to all agree on what movie to watch. But with RPGs (and this specific group), we'll hack them on the fly to keep the group together.

    But…

    I also play a lot of games with a lot of different people. I helped build a local gaming community partially to have a greater variety of people to play with.

    Often when I want to play a very specific game, I'll email a 100+ people saying… "who wants to play X game on Y date?"

    This usually means I don't play long term games. These aren't strangers. These are all people I care about and to play a campaign means playing with less people, so I stick to 1-3 shots to game with as many quality people (quality being non-universal, subjective and personal) as possible.

    Another but…

    Often I'm friends with all these people but they aren't always friends with each other. At least not yet. So it's even more helpful to give people information to self-select. I don't believe in universal fun. One size doesn't fit all. So when reaching out I like to set expectations asap.

    That all said, I would say 1/3rd of the time (sometimes 1/2) I'm in the mood for a very specific game. This almost always means I don't play that game with my high school friends (at least not all of them as a group).

    I occasionally play with groups with mixed preferences. Sometimes it's amazing. Sometimes it's terrible. Often it means I have to do more work as GM (I generally prefer to GM) to make it socially work. So I try to go with what's less work. Or at least I prioritize the work I have to do by what brings me the highest return of fun on my investment of effort.
  • I pretty much play with the same group of people all the time. I like my friends and I like gaming with them, so that's where I want to be each week. (The social "hanging out with friends" component of gaming is really important to me, so much so that I'm just not that interested in playing with people I don't already know and like, unless someone I already know and like is vouching for them.)

    Our games are very definitely tailored to our group. Most of us have been playing together for upwards of a decade, so we have a solid understanding of what each of us wants out of a game, and good lines of communication for discussing how we feel about the various new systems and techniques we try out. Everyone having fun is a high priority for us, so when something's not working out and we can't figure out how to change that, everyone's on board with dumping it and moving on to something that will work.
  • None of the people I play with live in the same city, so it's a different permutation of the group pretty much every time. Who's gonna be there determines what we're gonna play. Since I'm the one with all the books (and usually GM by default), I'm usually the one to choose or to at least present a set of choices, and I avoid certain games for certain players -- no Burning Wheel for S, he doesn't truck with anything that complex; no Sorcerer or Rustbelt with H, he's not comfortable with the emotional brutality (wrt what happens to the PCs, not the players), and those games aren't fun if you tone it down. If everyone is there, it's probably gonna be OD&D, 3:16, or Madlands: something light-hearted and fighty but not complex, everyone can get behind that.
  • Posted By: Zak SDo you play all the RPGs you play with the same group of people or do you play different ones with different groups?

    Do you feel the games are tailored to the groups? Or are the differences between the groups just down to logistics?

    Do you have certain people in your group that you know have certain preferences?
    Yes.

    Yes, mostly. No, except in some pretty specific circumstances.

    Yes.
  • edited February 2012
    To me it seems like reading the room is a perfectly valid for deciding what game to run. I play in several groups and one of them is very trad focused. We've been together for over 15 years and one campaign of D&D lasted 8 years. The methods of gaming are ritualized and mostly set. Another guy and I in the group are interested in indie games, but we've learned we can't pitch them for the standard Saturday night session, because people want D&D (or something like it) for that night. We had a 9 player session of Fiasco on a weeknight that was a lot of fun, but it would never sell for the normal bi-weekly session.

    I still pitch them indie games, but I do so lightly and irregularly. Sometimes they have a bug to try something new, but not often.

    On the other hand, my relatively new Monday group has tried probably a dozen different games in the past two years, 90% indie. If I show up to that and say I want to play something, it will probably get played within the next few weeks/months.
  • Posted By: Zak SDo you play all the RPGs you play with the same group of people or do you play different ones with different groups?
    Most of the games I play are each with different groups, though there's some cross-pollination.
    Posted By: Zak SDo you feel the games are tailored to the groups? Or are the differences between the groups just down to logistics?
    Tailored? Kind of. I have something like four "pools" of people I tend to play with.

    One pool consists of people in a weekly group that usually plays D&D and Pathfinder. The group started from a message in a local Meetup group for people interested in D&D, and that kind of game is their primary interest (though some of them also like Savage Worlds and they've enjoyed it when I've run InSpectres and Don't Rest Your Head for them).

    Another pool is made up of people from a group I LARP with locally, pretty much exclusively World of Darkness stuff. These folks are all part of what was until recently White Wolf's official fan club. It's a big group and people come and go from it frequently, but it's fair to say that most of the ones who stay are into the games (though I'm sure for a minority of them it may be more of a logistics issue - this is the only game they know of going on at the time they can play, this is the one game with room for more players that their friends are playing, etc.).

    The other two pools are ones I don't get to see as often, consisting largely of folks who live farther away from me and whom I primarily play with once every month or every other month at somebody's house or at a convention. Those two pools, who are basically 1) people who live on the other side of town and 2) people who live out of town but I see at conventions, share a decent number of members between them, but still have enough different people in them that they can be considered distinct from each other. In those cases, we more often than not play Savage Worlds, which most of the people in those groups enjoy quite a lot. The rest of the time we play a number of different games both "traditional" and "indie" which for the most part are things I think work fairly well for those groups.

    Whenever I try to run games of my own, I usually pull from three of those four pools (the three that are local), mixing and matching as needed to get the numbers I'm looking for. Because of that, in these cases whether the game fits the group isn't really a consideration, taking a back seat to the question of who's available. I'd say the people who show up probably fit the games better than the ones who decide not to come because they're not familiar with the game in question.
    Posted By: Zak SDo you have certain people in your group that you know have certain preferences?
    Yes, very much so. I can sometimes use that to help figure out who to ask when I'm recruiting for games I run (though to be honest, my primary qualifying question is "Do I enjoy playing games with this person?" or at the very least "Do I get along with this person?").
  • Posted By: Zak SDo you play all the RPGs you play with the same group of people or do you play different ones with different groups?
    Different games, different people.

    Currently I'm running three games. One player (my significant other) plays in all of them. Two players play in two of them. The other nine in one game each.
    Do you feel the games are tailored to the groups? Or are the differences between the groups just down to logistics?
    Both. Some people have broader tastes, some narrower. A lot of it is logistics as well. Knowing lots of gamers and wanting to play games with many of them has an effect too: not logistics per se, but desire to socialize with more people.
    Do you have certain people in your group that you know have certain preferences?
    Yes.

    I don't know nearly everyone's preferences, though: there's 70+ people in my facebook "Gamers" list, most of them local and all of them meatspace friends and acquaintances. I played tabletop with maybe half of them, more if you include larps. When I'm looking for players unless I already have specific people in mind I message that list and let them know.

    Some people I know really like certain stuff. Some people I know really hate certain stuff. Some people have fairly narrow tastes but are willing to experiment. Some haven't played very much and think they have narrow tastes, but just haven't discovered how different games can be cool. Some people I think belong to the previous group, but really do have very narrow tastes.
  • We're doing this mostly on a person-by-person basis.

    I have kind of mental map of current gaming preferences of people around me, based mostly on what follows:

    playtesting or not
    high vs low points of contact
    Norwegian-style games are cool vs "yeah well, but maybe rather this other thing"
    games with lots of RPG-related tropes or references to various games older than 10 years vs no history-of-the-hobby-including-D&D-and-WW-related baggage
    people from my close gaming circle vs random people from local fandom / internet
    one-shot vs few sessions
    preferred agenda
    amount of free time next month

    Most of people including me drift between these categories; usually, there are at least 2 persons in each of these, often more. So in practice it's categorical "no" that matters - there are people who are totally not interested in, say, gamist play or OSR-related stuff - it kinda makes for the core of the groups for different types of games.
  • I've got one group for all of my games, and they don't like the games I like, so now I don't have a group at all.

    I could probably find a new group if I tried, but I don't know many people here and meeting new people is terrible!

    Plus, I might just suck at these games, making all of the effort wasted and pointless. Bleh.
  • Posted By: Zak SDo you play all the RPGs you play with the same group of people or do you play different ones with different groups?
    Different ones with different groups. There are people who I know I can play Burning Wheel with but others who I know would be more into PTA and plenty of folks who would play both. I tend to be the person who wrangles people into a game and I choose the game based on the group...kind of. More like I get a game and think, "Oooh, this would be perfect for Barry, JJ, KK and Padraic. They'd love this shit."
    Posted By: Zak SDo you feel the games are tailored to the groups? Or are the differences between the groups just down to logistics?
    Yes, I do feel the games are tailored but there are logistical things going on too.
    Posted By: Zak SDo you have certain people in your group that you know have certain preferences?
    Yeah, definitely. I know Jim wouldn't like Primetime Adventures because its not crunchy and/or fiddely enough for him but I know that he'd love Marvel Heroic Role-Playing. I'd love for Jim to have played in our Burning Wheel games but I know how busy his personal life is and that the night we played wouldn't have worked.
  • I play different games with different groups. There's a big enough community in NYC (which man is so awesome) that I will often enough end up with friends and friends of friends whom I haven't yet met, and we'll organize a game and play for a while based on what the group likes. Sometimes that means it's a game I'm not totally into, and so that's a game I don't play.

    Among my closer friends, I'm pretty keen on what they do and don't like, so there's occasionally some tailoring depending on whether I really want a) to play with specific people or b) to play a specific game.
Sign In or Register to comment.